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Inside ADI-Sony Partnership

ADI has pre-authorized 30,000 dealers to have access to Sony inventory in 2012. CRAVE dealers will have immediate access to flat panels, audio and video components and tablets.


ADI will distribute Sony TVs and home entertainment audio and video solutions.

ADI's recent announcement that it will soon be carrying Sony products does not just mean greater access for dealers to more SKUs from the well-known brand, but it represents a major focus by the distributor on the A/V market.

One of the problems facing many CE pros with flat panel lines, especially during the holiday season, has been lack of access due to limited inventory. This new distribution deal eliminates that problem, according to ADI president Michael Flink.

"Sony dealers have to be authorized, which makes sense for Magnolia HiFi, but smaller guys had no way to get that authorization and there was very limited distribution support in the custom A/V space. But small dealers don't have forecasting ability, so they have missed out on the supply. ADI has a great financial position so we are able to bring in the inventory to support them, so integrators are not reliant on what happens to be left in Sony's warehouse."

ADI has pre-authorized 30,000 of its dealers for access to the Sony SKUs, including BRAVIA LCDs. "Obviously, we need to meet with those dealers to find out if it makes sense for them, but we have a substantial base of customers that will be able to purchase the product," says Flink.

Starting in Q4 2011, ADI is working with its CRAVE (Custom Residential Audio Video Expert) dealers, who are the distributor's most experienced dealers. ADI will be working with those integrators first to determine if it has the right product and inventory levels. Then, according to Flink, the availability will broaden to include more dealers in Q1 2012.

The Sony ES line will be available to limited dealers, according to Flink. By late Q1 2012, ADI will start improving its physical displays of A/V equipment in its brick-and-mortar branches. Flink says there are plans to incorporate "more expensive A/V product displays in 2012." Sony product will begin arriving in the branches this week and on the website.

ADI, which does not currently distribute Sony security equipment, has access to the entire Sony Entertainment Product line, which has over 1,000 SKUs.

"But we don't plan to stock notebooks or accessory items. Our primary goal is to carry televisions, A/V components such as Blu-ray players, and we will be carrying the tablets," says Flink. "My understanding is that anything that a Sony Authorized Dealer has access to, we will carry."

The Sony deal is a big breakthrough for ADI, which has always had trouble shaking the label of "security distributor," even though its does quite a bit of A/V business. "We have treaded fairly lightly in the panel business for a variety of reasons," says Flink. "Our flat panel stock has been extremely low in the branches. With the Sony product, we expect more stock in the branches."

"Strategically, we have a solid A/V business. We have done extremely well in speakers and accessories, and done well with AVRs with Denon and Onkyo, but we haven't really had the total solution as an A/V distributor. We've just been too spotty with panels. We haven't had the corporate focus on it that we will have in 2012. The Sony announcement was the first step to offer line of products that our dealers were telling us that they wanted. It's a top tier brand. "

In another sign of ADI's focus on A/V, the company has hired longtime vice president and company spokesman for now-shuttered Sixth Avenue Electronics, Tom Galanis, as its new A/V product manager to drive A/V initiative.

"We have the executive team behind this initiative and A/V is one of our key growth areas for 2012," says Flink.

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Article Topics

News · Displays · Distributors · TVs · Sony · Adi · All topics

About the Author

Jason Knott, Editor, CE Pro
Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California.

10 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by un-CRAVED  on  11/10  at  04:48 PM

This would be great except for some ADI branches and their regional folks are biased towards dealers in the program.

The company I work for is an award winning Premier Control4 dealer, yet ADI refuses to talk to us regarding the CRAVE program and says “we have no room.”  At one point, we were told that “your company doesn’t buy the products that are in the CRAVE program.  It is products that are for higher end dealers.”  Funny.  We are Pioneer Elite dealers, Control4 dealers, Beam dealers, Onkyo dealers, approved for Sony through another distributor that we would rather not do business with, and many more, yet ADI doesn’t have room for a 10 year old successful company.

Big losing proposition on Sony’s part as their “select” dealer base doesn’t really open any new doors.  I am certain that any CRAVE dealer would also be qualified to purchase Sony from other sources…apparently, they aren’t truly the “small guy” as mentioned in the article.

Posted by Jason Knott  on  11/10  at  04:58 PM

@Uncraved—Perhaps it’s not clear in the article. There are two sets of dealers discussed. First are the CRAVE dealers with whom ADI will be tweaking the program over the next few months, and then they will be rolling out the Sony product to the second group… the “small guy.” They are different sets of dealers.

Posted by Randy Blanchard  on  11/10  at  09:41 PM

@un-CRAVED, I am sorry to hear about the negative experience you had regarding our CRAVE program.  I welcome the opportunity to speak to you personally about it.  Please send me an email with your contact info and the best time to call.

Randy Blanchard
Business Development Manager-Residential AV
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Posted by Whitevan Lifestyle  on  11/11  at  02:51 AM

As a crave dealer I think this is a great move on ADIs part.
Hopefully this will encourage a website update.

@ Uncraved: The way the program is structured you may be experiencing dealer protection for a Crave dealer in your area. You can’t fault ADI for that. Just keep pushing and up your A/V purchases through ADI where you can. It will pay off and when it does you will see the benefit.
Best of luck.

Posted by John  on  11/20  at  01:42 PM

ADI is only protecting other CRAVE dealers in your area. Open the line of communcation with your inside sales contact and the Branch Manager.

The CRAVE program is a great asset @ ADI and really keeps me from doing business at the other big disty.

As far as Sony, as long as you are not buying from another distributor already (Sony only allows you to buy from 1 disty) you have full access to the Sony product line as well as XBR’s. The only exception is ES receivers and projectors that are CRAVE only.

Posted by David  on  11/20  at  07:06 PM

I am a non crave ADI customer and I already have access to Sony so I believe most of the pre-qualified customers are opened up. I have purchased 4 panels already last week as my branch in TX already had stock.

Posted by David  on  11/20  at  07:08 PM

Randy- Do you know if the branches or hubs will stock Playstation 3’s? Even if the price is similar to Best Buy I would rather buy through distribution. It would make it so much easier so I wouldnt have to make an additional trip to a retail store.

Posted by Randy Blanchard  on  11/21  at  07:09 AM

@David, originally we had no plans to carry PS3’s but we have had quite a bit of interest.  I am going to recommend to our product management team to review it. Stay tuned.

Posted by Sony dealer  on  11/21  at  09:14 AM

As a sony dealer I know the PS3 sounds cool to sell but even direct I can buy it $6 less that retail.

Posted by un-CRAVED  on  12/22  at  12:49 PM

After speaking with Mr. Blanchard well over a month ago on different occasions, it would appear that my complaints must be legitimate.  He was going to get with the local branch manager and discuss setting up a meeting to hash out all of our concerns.  Almost 45 days later now, no meeting has been scheduled, no phone calls except for the original ones, and Mr. Blanchard will not even return an email at this point.

Guess our appointment to become Elite dealers was a better one than Sony and CRAVE.

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